Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vacation Reading

My vacation reading so far has been a re-read of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend. The first time I read it, it was pre-kids and I was living in the middle of Manhattan. As cars honked around me, I started making mental plans to quit my job and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Clearly, I never quite made the finances and logistics work.

This time round, I was similarly inspired to hike the trail, although I recognized that realistically it wasn't happening for the next two decades or so. The thought of convincing two teenagers to devote a summer to a grueling hike with Mom and Dad makes me shiver. Especially since right now C can't walk further than the end of the driveway without whining that his legs hurt. Presumably in fifteen years his endurance will be a bit higher, but still...

Last night as I lay awake though, I started to panic (because, of course, I MUST start planning for something happening in two decades RIGHT NOW, this VERY INSTANT). "I bet my cell phone won't work on the trail. And even if it does, I clearly won't be able to charge it. What happens if my kids need me? What if one of them gets hurt and I am off gallivanting around the Appalachian Trail? What if something happens to my parents? They won't be spring chickens by that point." And on, and on the thoughts flew until I finally fretted myself to sleep.

Upon waking this morning, my first thought was "Man, I have this worrying thing DOWN. Will I ever learn to just let go and stop panicking about every little thing?" And my second thought was "Did these 'what if' thoughts of occur to all those people who hike the trail every year? Or did they just plunge right in assuming that their loved ones would survive for seven months without them in constant contact?" I have to assume that they had these random "what if" thoughts, and felt that the experience of hiking the trail was worth the risk. And I envy them that for as much as I would love to experience the hike, I don't know that I could take the risk.